Monday, July 24, 2017

Eastern Bottlebrush grass

I had a problem w/ the back hatch door in the car so took it in today to get that fixed. Was a good chance to play w/ some of the car's features that I haven't used on short trips into town.  I keyed in the address of the place in college town where the car would get repaired and sat back while the "Samantha" gave me voice directions to get there and let me know approximately when I would arrive. I hadn't used cruise for years after it went out in my old car so am getting back into using that. It will automatically throttle back when I come up on a car and maintain the amount of distance I specify from the car in front.  Also had lost the CD and radio in my old car long ago.  I picked up an audiobook on Norse mythology and listened to the adventures of Odin, Thor, Loki, and Freya.    Was back home by 10 a.m. - everything working again and happily playing w/ my new toy.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Field of Milkweed plants

I had used up 1/2 the blueberries Russell and Brent picked making jelly.  Today Brent used up more of them making a blueberry pie.  It tasted very good - not too sweet w/ the right amount of blueberry flavor.  He added cinnamon to the top crust which the recipe didn't call for but as he has said in the past "Cinnamon makes everything taste better."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Blueberry jelly

At the beginning of the summer I challenged a friend that we each do something "new" this summer.  Figured she would have an easy time of it since she and her husband were just about to take off for a vacation out west.  I wasn't sure what I could do that was new so I asked a few people for ideas.  One was for me to stand at the corner in the village and give hugs to people passing by.  Way out of my comfort zone and the thought made me start sweating.  (Of course the village is pretty small and there is the possibility that no one would walk past me for hours.)  Another suggestion was to learn to sew.  Now I do want to learn to sew but that thought also makes me break out in a sweat.  Someone suggested putting up preserves and coincidentally my sister-in-law Donna called to say they had plenty of blueberries to pick.  Brent and Russell did the picking of the berries while I picked up canning supplies this morning.  Looked up how to make blueberry jelly on-line.  Of course, there wasn't just one recipe and there were calculations to be made about amount of sugar vs. pectin vs. juice.  Not to mention that putting the berries through a cheesecloth turned out to be harder than it looks.  Still, hearing those jar lid's seal w/ a pop as I took them out of their final bath was pretty satisfying.  Not the most exciting "new" thing I've ever done but this will be one of my better tasting ones.

Friday, July 21, 2017


I wanted the kittens to get exposure to lots of people while they were still young.  Got help w/ that today.  My cousin Paul and his daughter Molly and his brother Rick and wife Dawn came over for the day from the Big City.  Aunt Ruth & Bev stopped by in the morning to say hi and Russell was able to stop in this afternoon.  We did a little target practice, flew kites, walked the paths, and played some games.  Enjoyed catching up and showing off the projects for this summer - the front "door bell", the clothesline, Ragnarok, and straightening the dog run.  Lucked out on the weather w/ storms going to the north and south but just a brisk wind here.  Nice day - great time.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Common St. John's wort

Indy and I went out for a final quick walk just before sunset.  I stopped to sit in my bench at the top of Gorge before continuing on.   Indy suddenly got excited and took off along the path.  I assumed it was deer but didn't see any jumping away (that white tail is pretty distinctive).  Instead I noticed the ears of a black bear in the tall grass near the dam.  Indy was following the trail along the top of the gorge so the bear came the other way along the shore - toward me.  It was a still night so the bear probably couldn't smell me plus it was well below me.    Indy came back and the bear stood up on it's rear legs to evaluate the situation.  Must have decided we weren't much of a threat since it fell back down on all fours and ambled off into the tall grass.  I can't say I was too worried either.  It was a little bear - 250 lbs maybe - and no cubs that I could see.  Indy and I decided to continue on our way down along the dam and back home on the gorge's other side.  Once back home I stood out on the deck when Indy began barking again.  There was the bear cutting through the meadow.  It stood up again for a moment and then walked off toward the woods.  Doubt that it was following us.  Think  we both were just going along the same path.  Only my second bear of the season (which is OK by me).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Library display - Farm toys

 The newest display at the library was put in by the local Historical Society.  I had asked them to put in a display at this time since they are open every Wednesday during the summer and I hoped this would be another way to advertise for people to stop in at their office (just a block away from the library).  I almost always let people put in whatever they want to display and the society decided on old farm toys.  This area had many farms so I'm sure many people will enjoy remembering "back when."  It's also a somewhat masculine display.  Sometimes I've got knitted/crocheted articles, thimbles, cups and saucers, preserves, hats, etc. displays which, while great, aren't necessarily something men would find real interesting. Nice to have as wide a variety of collections displayed as feasible.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Putting in a bench at Gorgeous Gorge

Renewed  my driver's license this morning.  It has to be done before my birthday or my license expires (not a good thing).  The inspector asked if I wanted "a real" license.  This is a mandate by the Feds for greater home security that won't take effect until 2020.  State is trying to get all licenses updated ahead of that.  It appears they just need two pieces of additional proof that I am who I claim.  Believe it or not they would accept the little piece of paper w/ my social security number that I received as a kid.  They asked then  if I had a passport.  "Yes, I do." I replied.  "But the dog ate it."  He asked to see it and I pulled out the old one and the new gnawed one.  He found this very amusing and showed it to his co-worker.  Indy had done a thorough job though and my picture and number were no longer complete enough for it to be used as ID.  Not a problem.  I pulled out an embossed birth certificate.  Again, a document w/ no picture.  Enough, however, to get me "a real" license.  A short eye test, snapping a pic that makes me look like a doofus, punching a hole in my current license, and we were done.  Came home and Phil and Brent were working hard on moving one of the benches out to Gorgeous Gorge.  It's a spot I'd like to be able to sit out, read a book, and watch the countryside.  While they worked I went to my study and signed up for the Part D  prescription supplement plan.   Already have Medicare and a medical supplemental plan ready to go when I turn 65.  Finally think I'm ready for my birthday!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bird tracks

Pretty nice day.  Brent and Phil finished the clothesline so I washed sheets and hung them out to dry.  A bit of wind and sun and they were dry within the hour.  Aunt Bev stopped by for a visit and brought her tablet. I cleaned out her e-mail accounts.  Tried to do something about Facebook but I'm not a user so don't know all of the bells & whistles.  However I will say this ... just because you find a video of a donkey/duckling/kitten/dog/pot-bellied pig/etc. funny DOES NOT mean you should post it to all of your "friends".   What a bunch of nonsense to wade through just to get to a few pics from family that you do want to see.  Every time I'm tempted to become a Facebook user I happen to see some one's account and wonder why I would want the aggravation of seeing strangers making a dummer esel (as my Grandfather would say) of themselves.  I can always find that in the real world - and w/ people I know!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Giant St. John'swort

I must have been tired today.  I fell asleep multiple times during the sermon this morning.  I can tell you that the text from the second chapter of Ephesians and that it was an admonition that we all can be messengers of Christ but that's about it.  This last week was daily vacation Bible School so the service began w/ songs the kids sung (OK, "Let's give it up for Jesus" seemed a little sacrilegious but then I'm sure many of the songs I sang at DVBS gave the same impression.)  You'd think that would have kept me awake but after the service my friend Nancy was wondering what the medical emergency up front had been.   I don't remember any of that.  Once home, Phil and Brent were already busy on the clothes line project.  I laid down - just for a moment - and didn't wake up until 4 when Phil said my neighbor Doug was over and did I want to say hello?  Was happy to show him the kittens he had given me a couple of months ago.  Tonight we had wieners, corn on the cob, baked (well, almost) potatoes, and smore's around Ragnarok.   Go figure - I'm tired.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Russell came over and he, Phil & Brent worked on Ragnarok today.  They moved all of the existing rock back out of the way.  I'd warned them about snakes.  Sometimes I would start a fire and I'd see garter snakes crawling out of the rocks.  They didn't find any of them but did find four red-bellied snakes.  The rocks made a perfect home for them.  Then they leveled the area and laid down a layer of gravel and sand.  They piled rocks back up near the fire ring.  Had rock left over so they moved those out where I plan a "water feature" in the future.  Three benches are back in place - the fourth is going out along one of the trails.  Everyone was too tuckered to try it out tonight.  If it's not too windy tomorrow, we'll have wienies and smore's!

Friday, July 14, 2017


The good news is the cultures taken on Tuesday all came back negative.  It wasn't an infection and, at least according to the tests, I have no tick born disease.  My nephew Gideon said there were people at his work out w/ a bug last week too.  So I had some kind of virus that was making the rounds.  I'm still not 100% but tomorrow it's time to check the bird houses again.  Might see if I'm up to giving that a try.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Those overwintered geraniums on the deck

Still break out in a sweat occasionally and have to sit down but I'm on the mend.  Brent and Phil are here so we drove to get materials for two projects they want to try this visit - build a clothes line and redo Ragnaroc.  I think they enjoyed the drive as much as getting the stuff.   Brent sat in the back w/ the car manual while Phil in the front passenger seat asked him what certain buttons were for.  I hoped they wouldn't do something that would make the car stop/veer/etc. while I was driving.  From their comments, it did kinda sound like whatever they did would be an improvement on how I was driving. (ha)  Picked up a steel fire ring, two galvanized posts and crossbeams, clothesline string and clips.   We are all tired early tonight.  Temps stayed in the 60's here.  My favorite weather but a bit nippy for the southern boys - I put out extra blankets for both of them.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Amassing Bobolinks

Still taking it easy - feel light-headed if I try too much.  While I was sick I was just too tired to shut the door to my bathroom and the kittens discovered the bathtub.  Now that I'm more mobile again it's surprising  to see everything they dragged into it.  I kinda wonder how they got some of the stuff up and over the top?  Indy and I went out to sit on the deck around noon.  I'd heard a bird hit the window earlier but hadn't checked.  When birds get knocked out they just need some quiet time to recoup before they are flying off.  This bird, however, was obviously dead.  I stood next to the body wondering what to do w/ it when Indy solved that problem.  She rather gently picked up the carcass, went over to the tall grass, dug a hole, and buried it!  I'm not considering what might be Indy's ulterior motives for taking that action but am going w/ the idea that she was helping me out because she knew I wasn't feeling well.  Now if only she could teach the cats to be so empathetic.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hop Clover

Mine was the doc's first appointment for the day.  My blood pressure and temp were both back to normal and in fact all of my blood workup and the checkup she gave me was within norms.  "Could be you just picked up a virus and it's run it's course." she said.  My urinalysis did show signs that I might have an infection so she ordered a course of antibiotics just in case.  (Good idea.  Even placebo's will make a person feel better.)  She didn't think I had Lyme's.  Since I do get a number of tick bites though she ordered a culture made from my blood to check for Lyme's and other tick borne diseases just to be on the safe side.  I knew that the Lyme's test is notorious for giving both false positives and false negatives.  The results from that wouldn't be back until Friday so she suggested we see what it finds and how I'm feeling by then before we take any other action. I picked up the medication and the pharmacist emphasized that it needed to be taken w/ food.  Great.  I was feeling better but I still have no appetite.  I picked up a sandwich on the way home and sat out on the deck.  Took a couple bites of sandwich, the pill, a couple more bites and gave the rest to Indy.  Not  feeling 100% yet but Indy is prepared to do garbage service whenever called upon.